Awesome/Less Awesome: Orlando to Singapore

I’m typing this 5 hours into a 15 hour flight.  I have travel on the brain, so let’s review some of the more (and less) awesome aspects of today’s travel experience so far:

AWESOME: I drove myself to the airport.  First time I’ve driven in over 6 months.  I even managed to stay on the proper side of the road.  That big grassy median on I-95 certainly helped.

LESS AWESOME: I was driving away from a place/situation where I really should be staying, at least for a little while longer.  But simultaneously, I was driving toward the new life I’m building with KMN in Singapore.  I felt very, very conflicted.

AWESOME: Checking my bags (including a heavy one with lots of goodies from the US) to my final destination.  This trip requires 3 plane changes, so the less stuff I have to lug, the better.  I am carrying on just a single backpack.  Score!

LESS AWESOME: Exchanging final text messages with my family.

AWESOME: Espresso-based Cuban coffee drink acquired from Zazzo.  The drip coffee that has been around the house for the last 2 weeks just doesn’t cut it for me.  I’m a coffee snob.



LESS AWESOME: The complete absence of tasty bagels in Orlando Airport, Terminal B.  I overpaid for a terribly disappointing bagel.

AWESOME: Complimentary upgrade on the first leg of my trip!!

LESS AWESOME: The warm cookie served in First Class was cranberry white chocolate, not chocolate chip.  [I know, I know – How DARE they, right?]

AWESOME: Timely arrival in Newark and a hit of New Jersey nostalgia.

LESS AWESOME: Two hour delay leaving Newark. Plane change, fueling trouble, etc.  Hopefully we make up some time en route, so I can make my connection in Hong Kong.  I will cry if I get stuck there overnight.  Nothing personal against Hong Kong, I’m just ready to be back in Singapore.

I don't know who arranged the seats in the waiting area here, but he/she gets an F-.

I don’t know who arranged the seats in the waiting area here, but he/she gets an F-.

AWESOME: United is finally making an effort to really, truly board passengers by zone.  For the bigger flights, they even have signs and numbers and different boarding queues and everything.

LESS AWESOME: The reality of going back to Asia hit me during the boarding process: Everyone in line velllllly kiasu.  [Joke for my Singaporean readers, and maybe Jules. 😉  Basically, it was very crowded and everyone was pushy and wanted to be first and lossofpersonalspaceAGGGHHHH!]

AWESOME: Remembering to purchase some sour gummy worms at the airport.

LESS AWESOME: The dinner offering.  The salad was pathetic, and the meat tasted…well, like a salt lick.  I’m not super picky about my airline food, but this offering was particularly poor.  The flight crew isn’t especially warm and fuzzy, either.  In fact, my dinner option was “Chicken or beef?”  Usually, there’s at least a basic description of the preparation provided, as well.

AWESOME: Wayne’s World is in the movie offerings.  I have no desire to watch it, but it’s a movie I associate very strongly with a particular period in my life.  Like, a long-ago period in my life!

LESS AWESOME: TV and movie selection is the same as on my Hong Kong-to-US flight.  And there are only 2 episodes of NCIS! And Covert Affairs!  However will I catch up on the TV shows I don’t watch?

AWESOME: I remembered to fill my 32 oz Nalgene at the airport in Newark.

LESS AWESOME: I already drank the whole thing (good thing I have an aisle seat), and there just isn’t enough fluid offered on this flight for my liking.  Admittedly, though, I do drink an awfully lot.

Travel buddy!  He can't wait to meet Rhino and Ellie!

Travel buddy! He can’t wait to meet Rhino and Ellie!

AWESOME: I’m on an aisle end in the middle section of seats (three across), and the very MIDDLE seat is empty. Priceless!

LESS AWESOME: I really thought these planes had power outlets at the seats.   Alas, not the case.  My laptop battery lasts <<<<< this flight lasts.  Good thing the Kindle is queued up!

AWESOME: The guy sitting behind me is super nice (in a grandfatherly kind of way).

LESS AWESOME: He’s really tall, and I always feel guilty reclining my seat into the lap of someone, especially someone really tall, who also happens to be really nice.


Picked up again, about halfway through my last flight (Hong Kong to Singapore):

AWESOME: Some airline decision-maker somewhere decided that the Newark to Hong Kong flight needed to have a simulated overnight, perhaps to help us remember that we were changing days.  The lights were dimmed from hours 3-12 of the flight, at which point they turned on all the lights and served us breakfast.   We landed at 8 PM local time.  If I weren’t on top of things, I’d be really confused.

LESS AWESOME: I skipped airline breakfast, instead opting to eat a few gummy worms and drink 2 cups of water.

AWESOME: Despite the two hour delay in Newark, we were scheduled to land at 7:30 PM, which should have been juuuust enough time for me to go through security again and get to my 8:15 connecting flight.

LESS AWESOME: We actually landed at 7:45, taxied until 7:55, waited for our gate to be clear until 8:05, and waited for a jet bridge driver until 8:15.

AWESOME:  I walked up the jet bridge to the terminal, resigned to spending the night in Hong Kong, when I heard a cheerful airline staffer summoning “All passengers on the flight to Singapore!”  I joined a group of 5 others and literally – literally – did a happy dance.  They were holding the flight for us!

LESS AWESOME: I continue to have ZERO love for security in Hong Kong.  I’m a seasoned traveler.  I know what does/doesn’t usually need to be removed from my bag at the x-ray station.  I pulled out my laptop and iPad.  My bag came through and I was called aside.  “Any electronics?”  Pulled out my Kindle (??).  Again.  “Any OTHER electronics?”  Pulled out a router I was carrying, which was buried at the bottom of my backpack (???).  Again.  “Ma’am, do you have tweezers in that bag?”  Why yes, yes I do.  They’re 3 inches long and haven’t ever – EVER  – caused a problem at security before.  Finally, I assuaged security, hastily stuffed whatever I could into my backpack, scooped the rest up, and went jogging off to the departure gate with the rest of my worldly possessions in my arms.  In Hong Kong, there is a second security check at the bottom of the jet bridge, juuust before you board the plane.  The staff raised their eyebrows at everything I had in my arms. I didn’t care, because I was getting on that plane!!!!!

AWESOME: They even held the plane long enough to transfer our luggage.  Just a bonus, for me, since I’m heading home anyway – but really awesome for those who are coming to visit Singapore (and don’t have clean undies waiting for them on the ground here).

Between the flight time and the time zone jumps, I’m in the process of fast-forwarding ahead one whole day: I left Newark at 5 PM on Wednesday, and will be landing in Singapore at 1 AM on Friday.  I’m not usually too concerned with trying to “sync my body to my destination time zone” – for me, that’s more stressful than just sleeping when I can during travel, and adjusting once I arrive.  Usually, if I’m sufficiently sleep-deprived in life in general (check mark), then once I arrive, I can sleep when night arrives, and (with the help of coffee) power through the daytime drowsiness.  This may not be what the experts suggest, but it seems to work reasonably well for me.

And with that…I do believe it’s time for a nap. I’ve already watched/snoozed during The First Wives Club, Hope Springs, and Crazy Stupid Love.  Catching up on movies from the ’90s is clearly the best use of my in-flight move time.  I honestly don’t know what got into me – I’m usually an Action/Adventure girl myself.  But for now – I’m resting to prepare for Immigration, Baggage Collection, and the cab ride home.  😉

What’s your favorite airplane activity?

Have you ever had a fellow traveler do something super nice/generous for you while flying?

Do you have an Awesome/Less Awesome for today?

23 thoughts on “Awesome/Less Awesome: Orlando to Singapore

  1. Amy @ Writing While Running

    Yikes, I know those feelings of international travel all too well. THe emotional and physical toll it take on your body is pretty rough, but the little things can make it awesome for 10 minutes until something yucky/less awesome happens. I hope KMN was there to greet you and make things better. Glad you got a piece of Jersey in there at the ever-exciting Newark airport.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Yes, yes he was. And honestly, no matter how “less awesome” some parts are – it’s pretty much impossible to argue with 24 hours of travel taking me to the complete OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE WORLD. That’s pretty amazing. So when I’m feeling cranky – I remind myself of that!

  2. Chrissy

    Isn’t it so great when the place that used to be new feels like home?

    The Asian concept of the line (as you described, everyone rushing en masse) drove me crazy when I lived in China for a year. I think it’s interestingly reflective of the collectivist nature of the culture, while the US’s strong emphasis on lines and respecting each person’s place in line is totally reflective of our individualistic society.

    Now, to answer at least one of your questions, my favorite airplane activity is reading Harry Potter books. They are such easy reads and so entertaining and engrossing that they just make the time go by so quickly for me.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      You know, a few trips to Singapore ago, I DEVOURED the second-to-last Harry Potter book so efficiently, that KMN bought me the last one while we were in Singapore, *just* so I could read it on the flight home. I agree – those light books (and movies, apparently) make for deliciously easy, time passing material.

      And it is a great phenomenon. I love landing in Singapore and feeling *sigh*home*sigh*. My fellow run-for-the Singapore-flight passengers asked me how long I was visiting Singapore. It was fun to answer, “Indefinitely!” 🙂

  3. Kristen L

    I’m always *just ready to get there already* whenever I’m halfway through traveling. Especially on the way home, I think.

    Love your travel buddy! And that you could watch Wayne’s World. 🙂

  4. Sarrilly

    “Wayne’s world, party time, excellent!!!” — haha even though I’ve never watched it, this immediately came to mind…

    Glad you had plenty of Awesomes on your trip 🙂 And that you’re finally back with KM now 🙂 Just in time for a very important day!!! Hope it’s the loveliest ever!

    Love your 3rd buddy. Is he a bear?

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Yep, mine too! 😉

      He is indeed a bear. A polar bear! I think his nickname will be P.Bear. Although P.B. is also under consideration. Thoughts? 😉

      [Remember, his friends are Ellie the elephant and Rhino the rhinoceros, so we’re not that subtle in the name department over here. KMN is mildly worried I might suggest we name any potential future children “Child”. 😉 ]

  5. Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee

    Loved this! Travelling definitely has it’s ups and downs doesn’t it?! I drink a ton of water too so I always have a huge bottle with me just in case, I hate not knowing I have instant access 😛 It’s awesome that they held the flight for you and you made it home safe and sound. Hope you’re getting rest!

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Ups and downs? Good one… 😉 [Especially when you take off and land three times!] But honestly – as much as I complain, I get to travel 10,000 miles in about 24 hours. That’s just CRAZY!

      Was glad to make it home safely, and an hour (rather than a day) late. Always a relief!!! Still working on the ‘rest’ part! 😉

  6. Allee @ Griselda Mood

    Dang lady, that kind of travel seems like a full-time blog and job all by itself! You have my deepest of sympathies but I’m happy there were quite a few “Awesomes” in such a hectic, time consuming ordeal! Also, majorly love your movie selections. “First Wives Club” is a classic. Those three broads are legends, what’s not to love!

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Strange thing is that I can remember seeing the previews for that movie a zilliondy years ago, but never watching it (I’m actually not a big movie watcher, believe it or not). Finally checked that off my list! Guess I’ll have to fly again in 15 years to watch Life of Pi! 🙂

  7. Jules

    Ha, I can totally picture it! Happens on Malaysian airlines flights back home too. I don’t get it….we have allocated seats!! Why the rush?

    I like reading (kindle is my best travel friend!) or catching up on tv series on my iPad! I really dislike transiting though, and much prefer long flights with no stops if possible.

    Good to hear you have safely arrived “home” now! 🙂

    1. Holly KN Post author

      I was actually standing next to a Caucasian guy trying to get into a different line. I paused to let him through, and he said, “It’s OK, someone is in my way over there *points six feet ahead* anyway.” I truthfully looked at him and said: “Erm, if you’re going to Hong Kong, you’re going to have to get a LOT more aggressive about that, if you want to get anywhere!”

      [I was actually wondering if you got the “vellly” and “kiasu” parts, which I wrote because that’s what went through my mind, although my American readers won’t have any idea – beyond context clues – what I mean. 🙂 ]

      I enjoy transiting when traveling on a higher status level (which I lost just this year, although am in the process of reclaiming!) – because then I get access to the elite lounges. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. These transits were pretty lame, only allowing for the acquisition of coffee and gummy worms. But, I’m OK with the leg stretch!

  8. runwkate

    Lol! Welcome home from….home. It’s nice to know that an awesome runner is just a tad closer to my own upside-down world again.

    You make flying sound like fun – hats off!

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Fun? Mehhh….maybe not quite so much. But a really efficient way of traveling 10,000 miles? DEFINITELY. I might not always love it, but I appreciate its power! 🙂

  9. Shoe

    Oh my goodness I hate long flights and really felt you with the awesome/ less awesome on this one… The only thing I really appreciate is the time to catch up on reading and writing. Apart from that, good grief. How could the cookie possibly be cranberry WHITE chocolate?! That’s not chocolate!

    That feeling of coming home at less sounds awesome, though. And will you judge me if I just heard about how amaaaazing Cuban coffee is……. via the Kardashians?

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Someone who believe that white chocolate IS NOT CHOCOLATE??

      You can TOTALLY be on my team, any day, Shu. 🙂

      And if you don’t judge my coffee snobbery, I will look the other way on the Kardashians. 😉

  10. Cait the Arty Runnerchick

    i seriously hope u got that nap!! goodness, i’ve already got messed up sleeping issues, i have no IDEA how you can make up that time difference….haha.

    umm, so smart that u picked up in flight treats…a MUST! i’m sorry about the crummy bagel tho, that’s a HUGE faux-pas considering i worship to the goodness god-like quality of all things carbs. 🙂

  11. Logan @ Mountains and Miles

    I lived in South Africa for 6 months and they also drive on the other side of the road – it took me so long when I got home to figure it out. Sometimes I would just sit at an intersection, just thinking about what lane I was supposed to turn into…just waiting for a car to come by and show me, ha.

    I hate flying for that long…but I REALLY enjoy it when they dim the lights for “bed time”

    Sorry you had a tough time leaving, but I’m sure it’s great to be back and see KMN!

    I never have enough water while flying. I just want to ask the attendants for one of those giant bottles they tug around – “I’ll take the whole bottle, thanks”


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